Cesium-131 pioneer Dr. Steven Kurtzman, MD, Director of Prostate Radiation of El Camino Hospital’s Center of Advanced Radiation Therapy, has treated over 5,000 prostate cancer patients utilizing Brachytherapy. During the 2016 ASTRO annual meeting, Dr. Kurtzman discussed the proven value of Brachytherapy including insights into the patient experience, and the results that helped him decide that his practice would utilize IsoRay’s Cesium-131 isotope as opposed to Iodine and Palladium. Here is a summation of his insights.
Cesium-131 Brachytherapy as Dr. Kurtzman’s preferred method of treatment
For sixteen years, Dr. Kurtzman’s practice has performed prostate brachytherapy procedures exclusively, which is relatively uncommon in the field of radiation oncology. “I am a huge believer in Brachytherapy. It is the best option in treating prostate cancer.”
Initially, Kurtzman used the isotope Palladium for his prostate cases, but after an information session with an IsoRay representative in 2005, he completed a few cases using Cesium-131. The results boasted healthy, happy patients who conquered their acute side effects much quicker. It wasn’t long before Dr. Kurtzman’s practice began to exclusively use Cesium-131.
“When I first heard about Cesium I thought, Perfect! This is the perfect combination between Iodine and Palladium,” says Kurtzman. “It [provides] a more homogeneous dose distribution and I loved that the half life was shorter than Palladium.”
Dr. Kurtzman’s patients’ initial outcomes with Cesium-131 included healthy, happy patients who conquered their acute side effects more quickly than those receiving Brachytherapy with other isotopes. It wasn’t long before Dr. Kurtzman’s practice began to use Cesium-131.
Cesium-131: the less obtrusive option
“It’s not so much what I have heard but more what I have seen while using Cesium for the last 11 years,” Dr. Kurtzman explains. “When I see my patients at 2-3 months follow up they are almost always back to their baseline and essentially have forgotten they even had a procedure done. My experience is that the patients are extremely satisfied with the choice for their treatment and I attribute that to Cesium.”
Compared to other treatment options, Brachytherapy is a less obtrusive and allows patients to bounce-back quickly. “If you look at the results, the success rate for intermediate and high risk patients using brachytherapy and radiation, it is better than any other option out there, and it’s not just my opinion, that is what the literature shows.”
Studies have shown that the patient IPSS will return to baseline faster than following brachytherapy with either Iodine and Palladium. Read more.
In the words of one of Dr. Kurtzman’s patients, Joe M., was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2015. Joe had Isoray’s Cesium-131 seeds implanted in August 2015. “Prior to receiving Cesium-131 treatment, I thought the side effects would be minimal and the cancer would be gone,” Joe said. “That is exactly what happened.”
You can watch Dr. Kurtzman’s ASTRO 2016 interview in its entirety below.